Flash forward to today, Microsoft has released the Kinect for Windows version 1.0. Included in the release is a SDK and runtime environments. Most notable in the release is a "near-mode" for the new Kinect hardware, allowing tracking to be clear at 40 cm (approx 15 inches). Having one on a desk is completely feasible now. (With the XBOX setup, users have to be several meters away for accurate tracking.)
Improved tracking, controlling up to four Kinect sensors, improved speech recognition, and a driver update system is included in the release of v1 hardware and software. The SDK is meant for companies looking to develop software or other products for the Kinect, but it is available for anyone to download at the moment. Applications written in C++, C#, or Visual Basic in MS Visual Studios 2010 is supported right out of the box.
The Kinect for Windows hardware is planned to cost $250, and it is available now. An educational price of $150 will happen later this year. I sense a mad rush to be the first to market various control interfaces using Kinect. Hop in the dev-train now, or read more about the release at the Kinect for Windows page.